One of the excellent pieces of advice Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect (review here) helped me remember is that, in most cases, you need people around you who you can help and they help you in return. We’ve been talking to you guys a lot about betrayal recently, so with this article I’m going to balance it out a bit by telling you about the power of friendship, teamwork, and why very few have managed to succeed alone.
Friends make you accountable
My friends and I argue all the time, we argue about books we’ve read, politics, films, the best colour of socks, you name it we’ve fought about it. These are never serious arguments and what it cultivates in our friendship is a sense of accountability, because I know that if I step out of line or do something that is against my nature I know damn sure one of my buddies is going to say something.
Accountability is hugely important when it comes to pushing yourself. One of the main reasons an essential goal creating step is to write your goals down, is because your future self is then accountable for your past self.
Say one of your goals is to learn conversational French in two years. If after two years you still haven’t been to a single French lesson, and you stumble across your goal, you feel ashamed that you weren’t able to accomplish something set by your past self.
Now, say that you told your close group of friends that you wanted to learn French when you’re at the pub one evening. You now have to face them saying to you “How’s the French going?” whenever you see them, which will serve as a constant reminder of your goal and you’ll want to show them that you are a person that gets things done.
Friends make you competitive
At university my friends and I would often joke around and talk about how many girls we’d slept with, how many pull-ups we could do, or how much we could drink. Now we’re a little older we joke around about who makes the best roast, who’s managed to get rid of the most bad habits, and who the best person at video games is (alright maybe we haven’t changed too much).
On this road to financial freedom that I’ve put myself on, I’ve started competitions with my friends that better ourselves such as:
- Who can save the highest percentage of their wages
- Who can do the most altruistic acts (oh the irony)
- Who can make the most delicious dinner, for under £10
- Who can eat out the least
- Yes, takeaways do count!
The prize of these competitions is a home-cooked dinner, or a trip to the cinema, or whatever. The fact is that once you put your competitive energy into positive actions you and your friends all benefit, and there’s the emotional surge of motivation that comes with winning.
Friends can do things you can’t/know things you don’t
I’m really good at a lot of things, but for all the things I’m good at there is an ocean of stuff that I’m either mediocre or bad at. My friends are laughably bad at some stuff, and unstoppable at others. Combined there are very few things we couldn’t succeed at. Thankfully each and everyone of your friends is exactly the same, and this goes beyond their job title.
One of my dearest friends is superb at finding the positive aspects of something, one of my friends has a keen eye for weaknesses in a plan or idea, another is an incredible mediator. The craziest thing about my friends, and yours, is that not even their bosses know they have these incredible skills, but you do because you’ve spent so much time with them.
Similarly, all your friends have practical skills that you don’t possess. For example one of my buddies is fantastic at fixing bikes, another knows so much about nutrition it’ll make your head explode. So guess who I go to when I’ve got an issue in one of those areas?
If you want to become successful in any aspect of your life, leverage your friends knowledge and skills.
Friends know people you don’t
Back when I was an editor I would do a lot of networking; finding people to interview, meeting with PR people, setting up relationships for quotes etc. I was amazed by people who dreaded the term “networking”, because “networking” is what we do every.single. day.
When you chat to the man who runs the corner shop, when you buy a paper in the morning, you’re “networking”. When you ask someone at the bus stop about bus times, you’re “networking”. Literally every single human interaction you have is a chance to extend your network.
When people would ask me “Is it a networking thing?” I would respond “It’s a chance to meet some new people”. No matter what your profession is or what industry you work in, you and your friends have all been to these chances-to-meet-new-people things and all have met someone who they like and get along with.
Use your friends networks to find people who can help you do what you do. It’s as simple as saying “I want to do x, know anyone who could help me with that?”.
Friends make the journey
The road to financial freedom can be lonely; many will be jealous, many will be unsympathetic, many will try and use you. But unless you cultivate a group of close friends what’s the point of having that freedom?
In my current job as an English teacher, I asked my students what they’d do with unlimited money and (after rattling off a list of things they’d buy) they all said “play with my friends”.
Ultimately isn’t that the point? To become wealthy enough to do the things that mean the most to us. Instead of spending eight to ten hours a day doing a job we don’t really like, we want to explore the world, help others, and develop deep bonds with the people around us. By spending time with your friends, building that relationship, you raise each others ability. You create a world in which there is a positive feedback loop that rockets you, and those who have chosen to go on this journey with you, to make dreams real.
One of the most important things we forget on the journey is that the journey is as (if not more) important as the goal. Through helping your friends and asking them to help you develop your relationship with them. Our nature means that if we accept help from friends, our friends actually like us more, and in the same way when you help people you feel better about yourself.
Here the five key takeaways from this post:
- Friends make you keep your promises
- Friendly competition helps you to excel
- Your friends are smarter than you in some areas
- If you want to do something your friends probably know someone who can help
- Ask for help from your friends, and give help freely in return
For further reading:
- What happens when friendships go awry (and why that’s not necessarily a bad thing): The gift of betrayal: Why liars and cheaters are amazing assests
- How to reach the goals you set: How to turn your dreams into reality in 4 simple stages